The Gambia is one of Africa's smallest countries and unlike many of its West African neighbours it has enjoyed long spells of stability since independence.
President Yahya Jammeh seized power in a bloodless coup in 1994 and has ruled with an iron fist ever since.
Stability has not translated into prosperity. Despite the presence of the Gambia river, which runs through the middle of the country, only one-sixth of the land is arable and poor soil quality has led to the predominance of one crop - peanuts.
This has made The Gambia heavily dependent on peanut exports - and a hostage to fluctuations in the production and world prices of the crop.
Consequently, the country relies on foreign aid to fill gaps in its balance of payments.
President Jammeh wants to turn The Gambia into an oil-producing state. He says this could usher in a "new future". However, the country has yet to strike crude oil.
Tourism is an important source of foreign exchange, as is the money sent home by Gambians living abroad. Most visitors are drawn to the resorts that occupy a stretch of the Atlantic coast.
In 1994 The Gambia's elected government was toppled in a military coup. The country returned to constitutional rule two years later when its military leader ran as a civilian and won a presidential election.
But the credibility of the poll was questioned by a group of Commonwealth ministers.
In 2013, President Jammeh announced The Gambia's departure from the Commonwealth, dismissing it as a "neo-colonial" institution. Critics said the move was motivated by anger at foreign criticism of the country's human rights record.
The Gambia,officially the Republic of the Gambia is a country in West Africa surrounded by Senegal with its coastal line borded by the Atlantic Ocean at its western end.It is the smallest country on Mainland Africa.It is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambian River.It lies between latitude 13º and 14º N and longitude 13º and 17 º W.The Gambia is less than 48.2km(30ml) wide at its widest point, with a total area 11,295km2(4,361sq ml).
Approximately 1,300km2(500 sq ml) (11.5%) of the Gambia's area is covered by water. In comparative terms the Gambia has a total area slightly less than that of the island of Jamaica.
Gambia is surrounded by Senegal on three sides,with 80km(50 ml) of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean marking its western extremity.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West Africa nations in the Slave trade which was a key factor in placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambian River,firsr by the Portuguese during which era it was A'Gambia,and later on 25 May,1765,the Gambia was made a part of the British colony when the Government formally assumed control,establishing the province of Senegambia.On 18 February 1965,the Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and since then,the Gambia has had two leaders-Sir Dawda Jawara,who ruled from 1970 until1994 as the current leader Yahya Jammeh seized power in a coup as a young army officer.
On 24th April,1970, the Gambia became a republic within the Commomwealth.As a member of the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS),the Gambia played a significant role in the organization's efforts to resolve the civil wars in liberia and Sierra Leone and contributed troops to the communit's ceasefire monitoring group(ECOMOG) in 1990 and (ECOMIL)in 2003 and The Gambia withdrew from the commonwealth of Nations on 3rd october ,2013.
A valid passport is mandatory.
Visas are required of non-residents.ECOWAS nationals are exempted
Yellow fever vaccination is requiref.Also precausions against Malaria,polio,Typhoid and Cholera is reccomended
The Gambia has a tropical climate. There is a hot and rainy season,normally from june until november,but from then until May there are cooler temperatures with less precipitation. The climate in the Gambia closely resembles that of neighbouring Senegal, of Southern Mali,and of the northern part of Benin.It's fair to say that the Gambia enjoys an idylic climate with temperatures regularly in the low 30s,virtually no rainfall from November to June and a cooling sea breeze.
The Gambia is divided into six administrative regions namely Banjul(capital Banjul), Central River(capital:Janjanbureh), Lower River(Capital Mansa Konko),North Bank(Kerewan),Upper River(Basse),Western(Brikama).It is also divided into eight Local Government Areas,including the National capital Banjul which is classified as a city. The Divisions of the Gambia were created by the Independence Electoral Commission in accordance to the Article 192 of the National Constitution.
The local government areas are subdivided (2013)into 43 districts ;
Kanufing and Kombo Saint Mary(which shares Barikama as a Capital with the Barikama Local Government Area) are effectively part of the Greater Banjul area.
The former Banjul Region is now divided into two Local government Areas(LGAs)-Banjul City(which is now divided into 3 districts)and Kanifing(a single district).
The former Central River Division is now divided into two LGAs-Kuntaur LGA in the West and Janjanbureh LGA in the East.
This Local Government Area encompasses the City of Banjul ,consisting of the island of that name(prebiously called st Mary's Island)
■Banjul North (11,334)
This district is the mainland extension of Bajul City,comprising the majority of Greater Banjul.
: Previously the Western Division)
■Kombo East (42,955)
■Foni Bondali (7,741)
■Foni Jarrol (7,010)
Previously the eastern part of the former Central River Division
Previously the Western half of the former central River Division.
Previously the lower River Division
Previously the North Bank Division
Previously the Upper River Division.
■Basse Fulladu East(49,990)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE : English
NATIONALLANGUAGES: Madinka,Fula,Wolof,Serer and Jola.
INDEPENDENCE(FROM UNITED KINGDOM:
18th February, 19656
ETHNIC GROUPS :
4% Other Africans
DEMONYM : Gambian
GOVERNMENT :Dominant Party Presidential Republic
CURRENT PRESIDENT :Yahya Jammeh
VICE :Isatou Njie Saidy
LEGISLATURE :National Assembly
TOTAL AREA :10,689km2
4,007 sq ml
TIME ZONE: GMT
DRIVES ON THE: Right
COUNTRY CODE :+220
ISO 3166 CODE :GM
Gambia's Economy is dominated by farming,fishing and Tourism
The Senegambian stone Circles(Megaliths) which runs from Senegal through the Gambia is described ny UNESCO as "the lagest concentration of stone circles in the world.
A variety of Ethnic groups live in the Gambia,each preserving its own language and Traditions. The Madinka ethnicity is the largest,followed by the Fula,Wolof,Jola,Serahuli,Serer,Manjago and the Bianunkas.The Krio people,locally known as the Akus are one of the smallest ethnic Minority in the Gambia.They are descendants of the Sierra Leone Creole people and have been traditionally concentrated in the Gambia.
There are approximately 3,500 non -African residents including Europeans and families of Lebanese origin(roughly 0.23 of the country's population.Most of the Europeans are Britons,many of whom left after independence.
The world bank pegs Gambian GDP for 2011 at US$898M ;the International monetary Fund puts it at UD$977M for 2011.
From 2006,the Gambian economy grew annually at a pace of 5-6% of GDP.
Previously,the United Kingdom and other EU countries constituted the major Gambian domestic export markets.However,in recent years ,Senegal,United States and Japan became significant trade partners of the Gambia in 2007,which defines a contrast to previous years which saw Guinea Bissau and Ghana as equally important trade partners.
Globally,Denmark, the United States and China have become important source countries for Gambian imports.The UK,Germany,Ivory Coast and the Netherlands also provide a fair share of Gambian imports.
Since May 2009, there were twelve commercial banks in the Gambia including one islamic bank.The oldest of these;Standard Chartered Bank dates its presence back to the entrt in 1894 of what shortly thereafter became Bank of British West Africa in 2005,the Swiss-based banking group, international Commercial Bank establisged a subsidiary and has now four branches in the country.
In 2007,Nigeria's Access Bank established a subsidiary that now has four branches in the country.In addition to its head office;the Bank has pledged to open four more.
In may 2009, the Lebanese Canadian Bank opened a subsidiary called Prime Bank.Generally you'll find your money goes a long way in the gambia woth everyday items like meals,drinks and snacks beign very reasonably priced.
Islam : 90%
Indigenous beliefs :2.0%
Articles 25 0f the constitution protects the right of citizens to practise any religion they choose.
Virtually all commercial life comes to a standstill during major
Muslim holidays including Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr.Most Muslims in the Gambia follow the Maliki school of jurisprudence.There is also a Shiite muslim community in the Gambia.Mainly from Lebanon and other Arab speaking immigrants to the region.
The Urbanisation rate as of 2011 was 57.3% provisional figures fro the 2003 census show that the gap between the Rural and Urban population is narrowing as more areas are declared Urban. While Urban Migration, development projects and modernisation are bringing more Gambians into contact with Western habits and values,indegenous forms of dress and celebration and the traditional emphasis on the extended family remains integral part of everyday life.
According to the 1993 population and hoising census,the Gambia has a population of 1,038,145 and estimated 49.9% of these were females.
English is the official language of the Gambia.Other languages includes Madinka,Fula,Wolof,Serer Krio and other indigenous vernaculars.
Due to the country's geographical setting,the knowledge of French is wide
For many, the Gambia is a country with beaches that invite visitors to laze and linger on package tours.But theres more than sun and surf.
The Gambia has established itself in recent years as one of the most sought-after winter sun destinations for tourista from Europe and the sub region.During the Summer months,hotels offer attractive rates and the weather is lovely,the beaches remain unspoilt.
The growing popularity can be attribution of endless sunshine,fabulous beaches,,a rich culture,unique traditions,wonderful hospitality and a very safe environment.
Although the West african Gambia is the smallest country in the mainland africa,it has a lot to offer and beyond superficial image of sun,sea and sand,there is a hidden world to be discovered on that largely untouched by development.Visit The Gambia and Go Discover.
Small fishing villages,nature reserves and historic slaving stations are all within easy reach of the clamorous Atlantic resorts.
Star -studded eco-lodges and small wildlife parks dot the inland like a green belt around the coast and the Gambia is a bird lovers' utiopia:on a leisurely river cruise, you'll easily spot more than 100 species while your pirogue charts an unharried course through mangrove-lined wetlands and lush gallery forests.You won't be able to resist wielding binoculars with the excellent network of guides.
Tourist sites in the Gambia includes:The Gambian River,Gambia National Museum, Kachikally Museum and cricodile pool,Kunta Kinte island,Abuko Nature Reserves .
●River Gambia National Park
●Jungle Beach Resort :Sanyang;Lomno south,Gambia
●Sunswing Hotel : Kololi ,Gambia
●Ocean Bay Hotel :Cape Point, Bakau,Gambia.
●Goldern Beach Hotel
●Coco Ocean Resorts and spa
●Starwood Hotels and Resorts
●Holiday Beach Club Hotel: Located on the Beautiful Beach of Kokoli,Adjacent to main Tourist Strip.
●Eagle Heights Gambia
●Bijilo Forest Park-Nature and wildlife Area.
●Banjul Market.-Flea and street markets
●Jane's Boats-Boat Tours
●Pa's Fishing Company-Spot Fishing,Fishing Charters and Tours.
●Abuko Nature Reserve-Nature and Wildlife Area.
●Giogi's Boat -Boat Tours.
●The Gambia Experince Day Tours - Sightseeing Tours
●Arch 22 -Landmark.
●West Kiang National Park
●Baitus Salem Mosque -Religious Site.
●King Fahad Mosque
●Amadou Tours -City Tour,Nature and wildlife.
●Katchikally Crocodile Pool.
●Makasutu Culture Forest-Banjul
●Historical and Heritage Tours
●Bakau Fish Market
●Stone Citcles of Senegambia -Point of Interest and Landmarks.
Gambian cuisine is part of West African Cuisine and includes the culinary practices and traditions 9f the Nation.Common ingredients invludes fish,pepper,rice,tomato,peanuts,onion,black eyed peas,lemon ,cassava,cabbage,chili,herbs and Oysters from the River Gambia,harvested by women.
●Benachin is a wolof dish traditionally cooked in a pot with various ingredients including Fish/Meat,seasoned with Lemon juice,herbs,basil,aubergine,parsley,onion,tomato,chili,pumpkin,cabbage,carrot,vegwtable oil ,and water with tomato paste added sometimes for color.
●Caldo is a lemon flavoured steamed whole fish dish,a variation of Yassa.Jorto or Sompat are usually used.
●Domoda,a Madinka dish made with concentrated peanut paste,meat or fish seasoned with salt,small medium onion,fresh tomatoes,potatoes,carrots,cabbage,water,tomato paste,lemon juice,soup stock and white rice.
●Mbahal a smoked and salted fish dish prepared with groundnuts,locus beans or black eyed beans,spring onion,fresh chilies, white rice,and bitter tomato or jattoo.
●Nyombeh Nyebber,a cassava and bean dish made with oils,onion,chilie,soup stovk,pepper,salt and fried snapper.
●Pepeh Soup,a spivy fish/cowleg or foot soup.
●Yassa(Food) is a lemon whole chicken or fish dish made with salt,pepper,onion,clove,garlic,mustard,chili sauce,lime juice,rice and water.
●Fish Balls: made with ground nonga,onion,tomato,breadcrumbs,parsley,black pepper,onion,soup stock,tomato paste,chilies and white rice.
●Jollof rice,known as "Benachin" in wolof language,it is made with rice,onion,pepper,tomato,red pepper and seasoned with ingredients such as nutmeg,ginger root,scotch bonnet(pepper),cumin and chili peppers.It ca invlude meat,fish and vegetables.
●Oyster stew,a stew made with oysters
●Thiakry,a sweet dish made from couscious(wheat or millet),milk (or sweetened condensed milk or yogurt) ,and spices.
●Okra stew,also known as superkanja,yhis stew is made with beef,fish,onions and of course okra and sometime prawns and crabs.
Bars and Restaurants
●Liv Bar : Kombo Beach Hotel Road,Kotu
●Sunshine Beach Bar and Restaurant - Bakau.
●Paradise Beach Bar:Kotu -Serekunda.
●Leybato's Hotel and Restaurant :Kairabe Ave, Serekunda.
●Olivia Bar & Restaurant :Next to Kairaba Hotel(European,Lenanese and African Cuisine)
●Pinay's Delight: Fajara M section, Kairaba Ave.(Serves Asian dishes such as Pakistani,Thai, Chinese,Filipino and Indian cuisine.
●Al' Amir Restaurant and Bar -Kololi Senegambia,Kanifing Municipality.(Exclusively Lebanese.
●Al Basha Restaurant: Near Senegambia Hotel(Lebanese Menu.
●Ali Baba Restaurant : Senegambia strip,Greater Banjul area(Serves international meals,cocktail drinks and televised football matches from European Leagues.
●Amore : Village complex Kololi located near the senegambia area(Serves Middle Eastern Dishes.
●Armsterdam Dolphins: Kololi Road:Close to Palma Rima Hotel.
●Bucarabu Bar & Restaurant :Palma Rima Road (Serves freshly caught seafood,2ine and beer)
●Butcher's Shop Restaurant : Kairaba Avenue,Fajara M section(Moroccan and Mixed international meals)
●Calypso Beach Bar &Restaurant :Cape point ; located in a very serene residential area(For lunch,dinner.Their Bar is stocked with Beverages and a pool with small crocodiles)
●Caramel :A French Patisserie & viennoiserie cafe in the Horseshoe Shopping Complex in Kololi.(Serves Coffee, cakes, Croissants,Pastries,tea,sandwiches and savoury snacks.etc.
●Chapman's: Cape Point,Atlantic Boulevard,located on the Main Road.(Serves Bitish and International food)
●Chosaan Bar & Restaurant :Senegambian Strip ,Kololi.
●Churchill's Restaurant :Palma Rima Road,close to the Beach.
●Clay Oven Indian Restaurant :Fajara M section (One of the best Indian Restaurants in Gambia.)
●Come Inn :Kololi ,near Palma Rima junction, In more urban Area on the kololi Rd( It has plenty of seats,a good sized bar and the latest hospitality equipments.
●Votton Club : Seaview Boulevard, Kololi(Food,wine and beers along side with jazz, Salsa and other styles of musical entertainment.Serves Gambian and international cuisine.)
●Fan Fang Chinese Restaurant : Cape point disttict(serves genuine traditional Chinese Cuisine)
●Francisco's Restaurant :Atlantic Rd/Kairabe Ave,Fajara M section(Serves fine food in tropial garden aurroundings)
●Garden and Bar Restaurant :Tranquil Highway ,near Brusubi.
●Gaya Art Cafe' : Kololi(Serves tortilla,tapas , foccacias and otherfine foods from around the world.Also have freshly roasted coffee beans)
●Golden Bamboo Chinese Restaurant : Fajara M Section (A well established Chinese diner in a quiet backstreet of a residential area serving chicken chow mwin noodles,beef stir fried rice ,King prawns in ginger sause & more.)
●Green Mamba : Senegambia Hotel ,Kololi (Serves Mongolian currie & othe dishes)
●Italian Connection : Cape Point,Bauku(Italian cuisine ,great pizza &Continental at reasonable prices.
●Jewel of India Restaurant :Senegambia Strip ,Kololi,Kotu Strand(A restauran near the Kairaba Hotel and BB craft market serving south Asian meals in cozy,dimly lit surroundings)
●Koko Curry(Coconut Curry) Indian Restaurant :Banjul Area,Fajara Kairaba Ave.(Offering one of the most Sophisticated and best Indian cuisine in west Africa & authentic food)
●Kora :Senegambia,Kololi :Near Sarges Hotel.(Serves African and International dishes like Fajitas,stews,grills, vegetarian meals,along with a fine wine list,Inside is quiet and peaceful)
●Le Palais du Chocolat :Pipeline Rd Kairaba Ave(Ice cream, deserts,cake and voffee specialities,pizza pistachio,fresh juices,vanilla and more)
There are a number of festivals that takes place every year in the Gambia
■RAMADAN:It is in the ninth month of yhe Islamic calendar .Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon after which,from the breaking of dawn to the settingnof the sun,all phisycally mature and healthy Muslims are Obliged to obstain from food,drink,gum and tobacco use.
■TABASKI/EID AL ADHA:The Occasion is a commemoration o Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his own son Ismail,in the name of Allah.It coincides with the ens of annual Hajj(pilgrimage)to Mecca.
Every head of jousehold is expected to buy a sheep,cow,goat or even chicken if they can.A sharp knife is used for the sacrifice and Allah's name is spoken.The meat is shared among the needy,family and friends.
■Roots Homecoming Festival: This Festival with the theme"celebrating unity through culture" began in 2003 and celebrated every two years in May 3rd -10th and serves as a connecting point for Africans and those in the Diaspora.
It is a time in which people reflect on the agony slaves went through during the slave trade,traditional Manhood passage,arts and music..The roots programs are deaigned to enlighten people culturally about the historic significance Gambia bears and the rich ethical cultures that prevail in the country.It is the most popular festival that attracts international audience of those linked or intrested in West African culture.Historical sites are visited.It encourages Africans who reside in Diaspora to re-embrace and re-affirm their ancestral identity.
■KARTONG COMMUNITY FESTIVAL:It is an annual Festival organized by the Kartong Community Development Association and is celebrated in March(last week).They celebrate it through the display of various traditional music and dances of Kartong(Gambia) and Cassamance (Senegal).Both are border communities that shares a common boundary.This festival is punctuated with drumming and dancing training sessions for visitors/tourists that are interested in learning.This festival helpa to raise revenue for the community as well as putting Kartong at a global stage.
■JAMORAL CULTURAL FESTIVAL: Celebrated every two years for the re union of the Bojan-Manga Badjan families of Senegal and the Gambia who shares the same ancestral leanage.
■KANILAI INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL FESTIVAL :It is a biennial festival Celebrated in June,featuring the president's birth place with thw mysticism of African occult and traditional mysteries punctuated with music,dance and drama performances by groups from all over the region and neighbouring countries showcasing Afrivan Magic.
■Banjul Demba Festival:Celebrated in January(first week), It is a long-standing display of the local culture of Banjul and its traditional renaissance from the clonial legacy.Thia festival helps to promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding across Banjul
■Sukuta- Dembadu Festival
■Community Cultural Festivals:This Festival is Celebrated in evry first weeken of February and it is an event that commemorates both past and present activities in the society,most especially past heroes.The community festival helps to transfer norms and values to the new and future generation.it also helps to educate visitors on the culture and traditions of the country.
■BURENG CULTURAL FESTIVAL:-KOOSEE:A Madinka festival celebrated annually in june ,meant for the preservation of the Bureng Community's traditional vultural practices.It takes place after harvast period and it showcases yhe rare Madinka Masquerades such as the koosee which is been threatened with extinction.
■Maribatang/Dankunku Cutural Festival:A two days festival celebrated in March at Dankunku village,Central River Region.It showcases the cultural heritage of the Region.
■KayongKalon Cultural Festival: Festival of the KayongKalon Clan held in Oct-May(dry season).It is a festival of the Karoninka clan though small in Gambia but dispersed withinCasamance and Guinea.They all come together annually to embrace their language and culture.It helps to maintain the Karoninkas ancestral Linkages.
●TRADE FAIR:Is held on December 1st -9th.The trade fair allows exhibitors to showcase what their institutions/Businesses has to offer.
The sixth Edition of Trade Fair Gambia is being organised with the objective of expanding business opportunities for enterprises for the creation of private sector jobs and transact business internationally.
●PLYMOUTH BANJUL RALLY: Held in December 19th-January(1st week),it is a charity rally and the rules are to drive a cheap second hand car from plymouth or whereever the rally starts through France,Spain ,Morocco,Western Sahara,Mauritania and Senegal then to Banjul.All cars that made it to the Gambia are auctioned in aid of local charities.
●OPEN MIC FESTIVAL: Held on December 28th,this is the most celebrated Gambian Musical Festival held under the backdrop of rising Gambian Musical talents and showcasing the best music of the year.It is graced by thousands of both young and old people from all walks of life.
●WRESTLING: Organized during major events.Wrestling is part sports and part celebration with music.However in Gambia it is more than just sports and entertainment .It is an important part of traditional culture and its organized to reflect some of the most rooted ideals of the societies that supported it.
●Ganjur Sand dune Mosque,S.O. Futieu Taal Shiyareh Sand Dunes Mosque(Sacred): People visit the Sand Dune Mosque to pray for life changing situations ranging from marital status to married women.
●TOURISM WEEK: Celebrated on 15th-16th February.Stakeholders and members of the tourism fraternity come together to celebrate Gambian culture and award prizes are giving to outstanding members.
EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES IN THE GAMBIA :
★AUSTRIA; Banjul,SOS -Kinderdorf International,Regional office for North West Africa.
P.M.B 28, Banjul
★ BELGIUM :Banjul
C/o Sango Farms Limited,Garba Jahunda Rd.
Bankau New Town ,Banjul
★CUBA :Bakau-Fajara Booster Extension.
Detail:Ine's Fors Ferna'ndez
P.O.Box 4627 ,Bakau
Mon -Fri, 9:am -1:00pm(Closed on holidays in cuba and Gambia.
★REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS: Banjul
Whe 1 Albert Market,Banjul
★CZECH REPUBLIC :Banjul
Bertil Harding Highway ,Kololi.
★ROYAL DANISH : 2nd floor,Delloite&Touch Building.1 Kairaba Avenue
104 Kairaba Ave. Fajara
Liberian consulate,9 Camaroon street.
Africa Center for Democracy and Human Rights Building,Kombo Coastal Rd,Kerr Sereign.
52 Garba Jahumpa Ave.,
★PAKISTAN : 21 Picton street.
59 Kairaba Ave.LP 385,Banjul
Fax: (+220) 373750
★SOUTH AFRICA :Bakau
23 Sait Matty Rd,Bakau
Details:Mr.Juse Martin Quontana-Honarary consul
1 Mamakotu Rd,
★TAIWAN REPUBLIC :Banjul
00 Atlantic Boulevard,Fajara
★U.S - Banjul
P.M.B. 19 ,Banjul